From the Desk of the President (April, 2003)
reason I talk to myself is that I’m the only one whose
answers I accept.” – George
it is an age thing but the older I get, the more I talk to
myself as I work through a problem on the way to a solution
or the acceptance that it is beyond my ability to affect the
outcome of the situation. If you have passed me in the hall or been
on an elevator with me, you may have heard my mumblings and
wondered what was up. Along
with the rest of you, I have been trying very hard to think
of methods that the County could use to address the budget
shortfalls that are anticipated and how to convey to my
legislators my displeasure with the bind that we are in as
well as trying to provide possible alternatives to the
proposals currently on the table. Muttering can be a good thing.
So far, I have decided that I will not be leaping
tall buildings or stopping trains but I can and have
contacted my representatives to share my thoughts and
response received has been one of thanks for taking the time
to contact them and for the ideas given.
This was reinforced when we participated in Day
on the Hill,
March 13th. Each
legislator to whom I spoke stated that they paid close
attention to the correspondence from their constituents.
They had received valuable insight into the daily
work done by public employees and the probable effects that
the lack of funding will have on the work that they, the
employees, do. So,
keep up your good work of staying in touch with your
representatives as it is having an affect on their views.
most recent issue of the PERA
had some important information about our pension
of the proposals for addressing the state's shortfall is to
give our employers a "holiday" on the employer
contribution towards this fund.
the article, written by Terri Heaton, President
of the PERA Board of Trustees,
states, cutting that contribution will create a problem down
the line as the less money that is invested, the less the
returns will be. You
should make sure to take the time to read the newsletter and
let both the PERA Board and your legislators know your
thoughts on any changes to the contribution system. If you are not receiving the PERA
newsletter, you can contact PERA at 1-800-652-9026
or FAX, 651-297-2547.
If you wish to visit their website, it is www.mnpera.org.
Take the time to protect your future.
to all of you who called with your questions about your seniority
Our Business Agent, Matt Nelson, will present all the
problems with the list to the Labor Relations Department.
One of the lessons from this process has been that
the Employer does need to clarify the term "reinstating
Too many members told me the same thing—that they
had been promised that they would get their seniority back
when they were reinstated so they understood that to mean
that their original hire date was their seniority date.
The Employer can reinstate previous accrual rates for
benefits but, per Article 6, Sec. 1 of our contract (page 8)
"Seniority is the employee's length of service for the
EMPLOYER from the most recent date of employment,
re-employment or reinstatement."
We will address this issue with the Employer when we
discuss our other concerns about the list.
but not least, the March
5, 2003 General Assembly approved
the appointment of the following to the Local
34 Table Team for negotiations: Jean Diederich, Andrea
Lennox, Bob Velez, Kelley Leaf and Cliff Robinson.
appointment is being earlier than our traditional
appointment based on the possibility of doing a shortened
version of negotiations this year. The nine Hennepin County AFSCME locals
created a steering committee for negotiations and, based on
the issues facing us this year, agreed that meeting with the
Employer to discuss entering
negotiations early would be to the benefit of all.
Our first meeting with the Employer is scheduled for March
20, 2003. As
more information is available, updates will be provided.
on - fight hard - fight back!